Jamaicans Blog for Prison Reform

Description: Jamaica has one of the most controversial criminal justice systems in the world. There have been reports of overcrowded prisons throughout the Caribbean island. In recent months a Jamaican nonprofit has made strides to give prisoners training on how to use citizen media to document their grievances.

Tools Being Used: blogs, Flickr, podcast

What They Are Doing: The S.E.T Foundation, a grantee of Rising Voices, is a program that works with prisons to reduce recidivism, by helping prisoners become productive citizens after they are released. As part of the Prison Diaries project, prisoners will be trained on how to use the group blog, as well as edit their own audio and video clips. Prisoners are also using Flickr to post photos. The goal of the project is to give the world a reality check about Jamaica’s prison system.

“Through blogging, inmates are able to tell their stories,” said SET Foundation leader Kevin Wallen. ”They are able to paint a realistic picture of life behind bars and the consequences of crime. Currently, Jamaica’s music and media idolize the ‘badman’ or ’shotta’ and portray as role models those who have been incarcerated. Many of our youths now think that prison is a ‘cool’ place to be, until they themselves are faced with the harsh truth. The Diary of an Inmate blog will allow all Jamaicans to learn about the realities of Jamaica’s overcrowded prison system with the hope that this will counteract the false ideas implanted by the media.”

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